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Nothing To Fear, Nothing To Lose, Part One

Posted on Dec 05, 2017 @ 10:28pm by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Dec 05, 2017 @ 10:28pm

Mission: Fear Itself

“Nothing to Fear, Nothing to Lose, Part 1”
(Continued from “Phobophage’s Terror”)


SD: [2.17]1127.2237
Scene: Sickbay

While the focus on the entity had brought them from the remnants of the merchant ship and the station, to various points aboard the PHOENIX, Sickbay was now ground zero for their attempt to thwart the killings. Most of the remaining crew was there, observing the prelude to what was purported to be a possible solution for their problems.

Tomas was a sleeping Borg sentinel, trapped in a world of nightmares from which even the strongest drugs available would not allow him to escape. Cantor Von was preparing to mentally delve into those hidden experiences to get a trace on the invisible murderer from another realm. Major Thytos would be the prey used to entice the being back to the portal, and Byte would be tasked with delivering an explosive payload to seal or destroy it, finally stopping its reign of terror. It was the only chance they had, but it came with a series of dangers, each almost as bad as dying in a pool of their worst fears.

“You really are doing this, aren’t you.” Eve’s voice was quiet, worried. Kassandra sighed and spun around on the biobed to face her.

“Course I’m doin’ this, Eve. I think you’d be more shocked if I wasn’t doin’ this,” Kassandra gave the other woman her best, toothy, devil-may-care smile, though she didn’t feel quite as sanguine as she was letting on.

“I would ask if you’re sure you know what you’re doing, but I suspect that has never stopped you before-”

“Burrrrrn,” Kassandra mock fanned herself, before patting Eve’s hand. “Seriously, don’t worry bout me, I’m a big girl, and I can take care of mahself. Plus, Byte will be on hand to tranq me if it looks like I’m about to get mahself scared to death. Ain’t nothin’ to worry about. I’ll be fine. Sides, all I’m scared of is the dark, anyway, and ain’t really much way for that to get me.”

“You aren’t scared of the dark,” Eve said it automatically, then appeared embarrassed, as though it was the counselor in her talking, not the friend that was supposed to be there.

“Whaddya mean? I think I know what I’m scared of-”

“It’s not the dark, it’s what can happen in the dark, when you’re helpless, and can’t go in guns blazing,” Eve took a breath. “This really should have been a therapy session, not me just blurting this out, but I can’t let you go into this blind- no pun intended- when I know it’s not going to be what you’re expecting at all.”

“Git talkin’, or stop yammerin’, Eve. Your problem is you n’ your prevaricatin’! You’n your talkin’ an we’d never get to the point. Jus’ spit it out!”

Despite the dire circumstances they were in, the Cns found a smile on her face. Kass wasn’t incorrect. “I’m counting on you to be just as hard-headed and indestructible as you always are. And if not, I might just have kick your ass myself.”

“Heh. I havta come back then, justa prove to you how wrong you are about that.”

“See that you do,” Eve said with mock sternness.

“You know me. If Byte an the payload can’t get the job done, I’ll stubborn ole cuss the thing into submission. Anyway, what I need you to do now is to work your creepy mojo on everyone else on the damn ship, make it so they aren’t scared. I need to be a shinin’ beacon to that thing, the tastiest, scaredest person on the ship, so you gotta do somethin’ and make ‘em not scared.”

“Well, you’ll definitely be the most scared person on the ship once you inject yourself with this,” Aerdan came over, a hypospray on a tray, his antennae waving disapprovingly. This came dangerously close to breaking the ‘do no harm’ rule, and he wasn’t very pleased, even as he saw the necessity. “It’s a mixture of epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, and adrenaline, as well as the synthesized active ingredients of Klingon nightmare-vine.”

“Yeah, and it prolly doesn’t taste as good either,” Kassandra said gruffly. “I’ll probably be like a chili mac MRE, an’ regular slightly scared people’ll probably be like, I dunno, one of Iphie’s deep fried mac n’ cheese bites in hot sauce, so definitely more appealin’, even if she’s gone an’ snuck cauliflower in to make it sneaky healthy. So Eve should still go n’ try and calm people down anyway, cos I know I’d pick Iphie’s mac bites over field rations any day.”

“I’m so telling Iphie that,” Eve said with a grin. “She’ll be pleased to know she actually does rank higher than ration cubes in your estimation. And about the cauliflower.”

“You wouldn’t dare!”

“I would…”

“Yeah well, I plead Counselor/Patient confidentiality!” Kass retorted, and picked up the hypospray. “You got the antidote shot, Tick?”

“I still don’t understand that nickname, but yes,” Aerdan folded his antennae primly, and gestured Byte over. “This hypospray has beta blockers and a tranquilizer in it, that should calm you down and keep you from going over the edge. BUT, if for some reason, the first hypospray is ineffective, this second hypospray should knock you out cold. You’ll have a bad headache afterwards, but it should keep you from dying of fear.”

“I will endeavor to remember which one is which.” Byte said in its emotionless voice, and paused. “That was a joke. I have a perfect memory. I will make sure to give you the correct one first, Major.”

“You’re a regular comedian,” Kass was amused. “You better though, I’ll be real cranky if I wake up with a headache, *AND* I didn’t even get the good drugs! Lets haul ass outta here, gotta get this show on the road!”

“Hold on,” Cantor said to the copper-topped Marine. His ebony eyes were stern. “It won’t do you any good to be bait if I’m not a position to look for the portal. Give me about fifteen minutes.”

Eve thought of Kassandra’s request to make sure everyone was calm. “Ensign Ryan?” she softly asked Aerdan.

His antennae were practically knit together with consternation. “She’s in the other room, resting. I prescribed a sedative and obviously she’s under close observation.”

“Good.” That left only one person she was worried about. “Do we have anyone that can accompany me on an errand?” she asked Kass.

“Yer gonna leave NOW?!” she fumed, so loudly that she caught the attention of nearly the entire room. “What’s so dang important that you’d be missin’ me risk my life?”

“Do we have someone or not?” Eve shot back. “If you want everyone relaxed so badly, you need to let me make one last house call before this all goes down.”

“Win-Win’s outside. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a change of scenery,” Kass said halfheartedly.

“Making sure everyone’s calmed down was a good idea, Kass. But that means I need to do this.” It was the closest Eve could come to an apology. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”


Location: CO’s Ready Room
Time Index: a few minutes later

The Bridge was empty except for the Security Officer that was outside of the Ready Room. Eve had asked Winnifred Nguyen, one of Kass’ Marines, to accompany her, in order to follow the buddy system while allowing the rest of the senior staff to make their preparations. Win-Win took her position on opposite side of the door frame in a relaxed attention.

Lieutenant Dalziel pressed the chime to gain access to Kane’s office, a grimy glass decanter from the Tribble clutched in her left hand. The door opened without much of a pause.

Michael Turlogh Kane sat behind his desk, lights a shade or two dimmer than standard, his fingers steepled as he stared at her pensively. As usual, she couldn’t read the man any more than she could herd cats. His expression was grim, but not so unlike his typical that it didn’t prove to be jarring to her.

“Truce,” the sable-haired woman said, relating to nothing other than she never knew what to say around Kane when it wasn’t related to duty or the mission at hand.

“I wasn’t aware one was needed, Counselor.”

“I come in peace,” she answered, holding up the dubious gift.

“Do I need to add larceny to your personnel record?” He managed weakly.

Eve wiped more dust from the bottle as she set it unceremoniously on Kane’s desk. “No. I asked for Iphie’s recommendation and this is what she gave me. Single malt, aged for twelve years in barrels made of Bajoran Nya wood. Should be a nice blend of fire and spice.” She replicated two old fashioned glasses.

“Why are you here?”

“Kass,” Eve said as if that explained everything, free pouring a couple of servings of the amber colored liquid.

The ship’s Captain eyed the drinks with suspicion. “What does the Major have to do with it?”

“I was informed that her mission to be a ‘shinin’ beacon’ and lure the killer was dependent on the rest of us calming down. She indicated she thought I was the one to do the calming. Something about a particular set of skills.”

“Drunk and calm are not synonyms.”

“This isn’t enough to get anyone drunk,” Eve responded. “But it is enough to take the edge off.”

Kane grunted. “We went from edge to bloody Bat’leth blade several hours ago.”

“All the more reason- it’s medicinal.” She took the glass, deciding waiting was overrated, and took a sip.

Kane’s professional gaze held… almost. “How is getting ossified going to help things?”

Eve’s raised an eyebrow in challenge to his thought that she was going to get sloppy drunk. "The average Cardassian female metabolizes alcohol with ten percent more efficiency as the average Human male. Not that I'm calling either of us average."

“Conventional wisdom would have you offering a mild sedative. Didn’t you just come from Sickbay?” He picked up the glass and tasted the liquor. It had a different character than Terran spirits, but was more passable than a lot of the other rotgut he’d tasted that purported to be as good as Irish whisky.

“I didn’t just come aboard yesterday,” she sidestepped as proficiently as he did. “I don’t even need both hands to count the number of times we’ve had a private discussion. Why do you suppose that is?”

He took another sip. It was kind of growing on him. “Because there are far more vulnerable people aboard this ship in need of your assistance.”

Eve nodded as she continued to nurse her drink. “Ok. You get a point for that even though some of it’s bull. I was thinking it’s more because you’re not a standard individual. Ergo, why would I bother to give you a standard solution. For example, it would be very easy to offer my condolences on your losses- *all* of them- but I know it’s not going to change anything that happened or change the way you perform your duties.”

The Cns hadn’t said Ellie’s name, but the implication was there. For all the feelings he may have held close to the vest, the dominant one was foolishness. He shouldn’t have allowed himself to become so attached so quickly. Kane gave a brief nod. “I’m fine, Lieutenant.”

“I know,” she said dryly, turning her empty glass into the replicator and picking up the bottle. “It’s almost time,” Eve continued, indicating she was heading back below decks.

Kane wanted to say something appropriate. Something encouraging. But there was no traction in anything he could offer. All he wanted was for it to be over with. “They *will* finish this,” he said, referring to the efforts of his dwindling crew.

“I’m counting on it. I can’t fight the battle for them, but I can support them on the journey.” She looked solemnly into Kane’s mismatched eyes, letting him know she meant the same for him without saying as much.


Location: Unknown

Cantor Von had been supplanting any fear he felt with concern over the FCO’s well-being and the need to psionically trace the killer’s location. His mind was disciplined enough that whatever occupied others’ thoughts did not necessarily have to be his concern, and the sleeping Borg had not been any different. All of that felt very far away as he sank into the subconscious of Tomas Vukovic, sliding into the stream of existence that so far only one person had known. Their physical bodies were still in Sickbay, but neither of them were held to the limits of space and time at the moment.

This was different. Von had expected darkness and crimson shadows. He had expected inescapable fear. But his expectations were irrelevant in the bandwidth of Tomas’ vision.

A massive oak tree stood in front of a stately chapel. Sunlight and wind played with the autumn leaves, making them shine and rustle in an unspoken greeting. The building was isolated, surrounded by earthen fields that had either been left fallow or had been harvested.

There was no one outside. The large wooden doors to the church beckoned him forward, as he hoped to find answers. For all the preparing he did to reach out to Tomas’ mind, pushing many of his own conceptions aside, Von expected the battle he would face would be between his highly developed abilities and sheer terror. But the scene before him was not causing that reaction. Maybe this was because he was an observer. This wasn’t his fear; it was Vukovic’s. What could a Borg be afraid of? But Tomas was not only Borg, he was Human too, Von reminded himself. He guessed that the man’s technology had saved his life. If Doctor Jos hadn’t been able to get enough stimulants into him to wake him up, the rush of endorphins, adrenaline, and other chemicals pulsing through his nervous system hadn’t been enough to kill him either. Vukovic was caught, trapped in a wrinkle of unconsciousness.

Cantor pushed the doors open, curious to know what fears manifested themselves in this still unassuming tableau.

NRPG: Part 1 of 2. To definitely be continued.

A Joint Post by

Alix Fowler
Kassandra Thytos
USS Phoenix


Susan Ledbetter

Writing for

Lieutenant Eve Dalziel


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